Pipeline Security: Domestic Threats [November 3, 2016]   [open pdf - 120KB]

"Recent acts of sabotage against U.S. oil pipelines by environmental activists have raised concern about the security of the nation's energy pipelines and the federal program to protect them. On October 11, 2016, a coordinated group of domestic environmentalists disrupted the operations of five pipelines in four states transporting crude oil from Canada to the United States. The activists entered remote locked enclosures and cut security chains in order to access manual shutoff valves, seeking to stop the flow of oil on these pipelines. Four different operators were affected: Enbridge (Lines 4 and 67), Kinder Morgan (TransMountain), Spectra Energy (Express), and TransCanada (Keystone). The combined capacity of the pipelines was reportedly 2.8 million barrels per day, equivalent to approximately 15% of daily U.S. consumption. The operators temporarily shut down four of the pipelines (one was not in service) for precautionary reasons. […] In recent congressional oversight of TSA's [Transportation Security Administration] pipeline security program, three issues have come under scrutiny: the use of voluntary standards, the agency's pipeline threat assessments, and the resources devoted to TSA's pipeline division. Although TSA believes a voluntary approach to U.S. pipeline security is most effective, in 2010, the National Energy Board of Canada mandated security regulations for jurisdictional Canadian petroleum and natural gas pipelines, including the Canadian segments of the same five cross-border pipelines recently disrupted by the U.S. activists. Some policymakers also have questioned whether the TSA devotes enough funding to pipeline security relative to other surface transportation modes."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10603
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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